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1. Ulead InterVideo WinDVD 8

Fully compatible with the new Windows Vista OS, InterVideo WinDVD 8 by Ulead (now owned by Corel) comes in two versions: Gold ($40, direct) and Platinum ($60). Both include dozens of special effects, transitions, text and graphics tools, and powerful video- and sound-editing functions. While both support a wide variety of file formats, the Platinum version adds highdefinition (HDTV) editing and playback for sharper shows. (

2. CyberLink Power Director Premium 5

With six time-saving tools, PowerDirector Premium 5 ($90, direct) automates photo retouching and the creation of slide shows and videos. What else do we like? Extensive editing controls, unusual special effects, compatibility with Microsoft Vista OS, and output to Sony PSPs and Apple iPods. You can even upload video directly to YouTube and create and burn movies onto DVD. The program supports HDTV and 16:9 aspect-ratio format, too. (

3. Muvee AutoProducer 6

No time to make your own slide shows? Consider Muvee autoProducer 6 ($130, direct). Giving you a choice of eight styles, it creates them automatically, using special effects (including transitions, pans, and zooms) that sync to your soundtrack. After the automated version is finished, you can add voiceovers and captions, tweak transitions, delete images, and edit video. It exports to a range of file formats, including those for mobile devices (but not HD). (

4. Nero PhotoShow Deluxe 4

If still photos mean more to you than editing movies, Nero’s PhotoShow 4 ($40, direct) is the way to go. It’s focused on keeping track of your images and creating knockout slide shows and photo or video albums for TV, HDTV, and mobile devices. Image-editing tools let you remove redeye, crop, rotate, and adjust levels. It includes 275 songs and 100 animations to help spice up your shows, and it easily creates PhotoShow DVDs. (

5. Pinnacle Studio Plus 10.5 Titanium

Strut your stuff on PDAs, PSPs, iPods, and even cell phones. Pinnacle’s Studio Plus 10.5 Titanium ($100, direct) lets you resize videos and slide shows for mobile devices and DivX players. An easyto- use interface quickly takes you through image capture or import, editing, and sharing. Included: hundreds of transitions, a green/ blue screen feature, multitrack video editing, special effects, and DVD authoring tools. You can also edit and play clips from HDV and DVD camcorders. (